A 61-year-old Dumfries man was among three killed in a Thursday evening crash on the Interstate 95 Express Lanes caused by a wrong-way driver who had been fleeing police.
Kenneth E. Crosby Jr., 61, of Dumfries, was traveling south in the Express Lanes near Cardinal Drive in a 2020 Ford pickup when a 2008 Dodge slammed into his truck head on, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The impact of the crash caused the Ford to run off the side of the Express Lanes and over the guardrail. Meanwhile, a 2016 Hyundai Tucson and a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas collided with the Dodge, causing the Dodge to catch fire.
The driver of the Dodge, Stephanie T. Morton, 46, of Richmond, died at the scene as did her passenger Tia O. Porter, 26, of Richmond. Porter was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the Dodge.
The driver of the Hyundai, a 23-year-old Seneca, S.C., woman suffered minor injuries and was taken to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center for treatment. She was wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Volkswagen, a 37-year-old Stafford man, and two juvenile passengers were all treated at the scene for minor injuries. All were wearing seatbelts.
The incident began at approximately 4:33 p.m. Thursday when a Virginia State Police trooper attempted to stop the Dodge Avenger traveling north on Interstate 95 at a high rate of speed near the 127-mile-marker in Spotsylvania County, Geller said. The violation was for traveling 80 mph in a posted 65 mph zone.
The Dodge refused to stop and a pursuit was initiated, Geller said. Within two minutes, the trooper terminated the pursuit due to heavy northbound traffic on I-95. The Dodge sped away headed north using the left shoulder.
State police farther north positioned themselves for the coming suspect vehicle and, due to lighter traffic, re-initiated the pursuit of the speeding Dodge as it continued north on I-95, Geller said.
The Dodge exited I-95 for the Express Lanes, breaking through three of the lighted Express Lanes gates at the entry as it headed north into the lanes that were switched for southbound traffic only, Geller said. The trooper did not follow the Dodge into the Express Lanes.
Several InsideNoVa readers saw the crash and aftermath as they commuted home Thursday evening.
"I witnessed this while driving south on I-95," one wrote on InsideNoVa's Facebook page. "Saw a car flip vertically into air while in a ball of flames. We happened to get off the Express Lanes the exit before. Thank the good Lord we did or we could have been involved in it. I had my daughter and 4-month-old granddaughter with me. Now praying for those affected by this tragedy."
"We passed by this before the fire trucks were on scene. I've never in me life seen what I saw. Absolutely horrible," another said. "One vehicle looked like a crushed soda can and another had it's wheels completely off axle. Praying for everyone effected by this."
The incident tied up evening traffic through Woodbridge and Dale City. The Virginia Department of Transportation closed the ramps onto the Express Lanes and the two left lanes both north and south on the I-95 main lines.